Originally created 01/17/04

Gibbs settles in with Redskins



ASHBURN, Va. -- When it comes to work routine, Joe Gibbs is no Steve Spurrier.

When not working on assembling his coaching staff, Gibbs is spending his first days as Washington Redskins coach hunkered for long hours in the film room, studying every player in detail from every game last season.

"Before this is over, I'll be able to spot you by the way you get into your stance and the way you walk," said Gibbs, relaying the message he plans to give the players. "I'm going to know them that well."

Though his strength is offense, Gibbs stressed he will watch the defensive tapes just as closely, and he's had defensive coordinator Gregg Williams watching offensive tapes as well. Unlike Spurrier, who often didn't even know who was starting on defense, Gibbs leaves no doubt that he'll be the head coach of the entire team.

"I think it's important for players to know that I'm going to be over there with the defensive coaches," Gibbs said Friday. "That's something I think is very important. We're going to trust Gregg and his guys to run the show over there, but I'll be giving my input on it."

The excitement has yet to die down in the nation's capital over the return of Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls with the Redskins before retiring 11 years ago. Even rumors about possible assistant coach candidates make big local news.

Gibbs doesn't want to announce his staff until it's complete, but he's unofficially added some names to the five assistants he announced on the day he was hired. Longtime NFL offensive guru Ernie Zampese will be a consultant. Ex-Buffalo coaches Danny Smith (special teams) and Steve Jackson (defensive backs) are in the fold, as well as trainer John Burrell and former Atlanta receivers coach Rennie Simmons.

Longtime Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer is returning to a front office position, and former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green could join the team in a peripheral role.

Joe Bugel, Don Breaux, Jack Burns, Coy Gibbs and Williams were the original five coaches selected by Gibbs, who is still sorting out titles and duties. Gibbs hasn't announced whether he have an offensive coordinator or whether he'll do it himself.

Gibbs said he hopes to have the staff completed by the end of next week.

"I'll be spending more time with them than I will with (wife) Pat," Gibbs said. "You'll learn every bad habit they got. Don Breaux, I sit him in the back of the room because he eats ice. I don't want to hear that all night long. ... You're living together 18 hours a day."

Gibbs did not discuss individual players much, but he did say it's a "safe assumption" that cornerback Champ Bailey will not be allowed to become a free agent this offseason. The Redskins have long planned to designate Bailey as a franchise player if a new contract can't be worked out. No negotiations have taken place with Bailey's agent since August.

"They must have some plans," said agent Jack Reale, when told of Gibbs' words. "They just haven't shared them with us yet."

Gibbs has met only a handful of his players, mostly those who live in the local area in the offseason.

"I had the naive approach of trying to call some of these guys, and I found out they had 12 cell phones. The CIA couldn't find half of these guys," Gibbs said. "It's probably for a reason - they don't want to be here working out. I kind of gave up on that."

Gibbs will get to know his players during three spring minicamps, with the first one probably taking place in late March. For now, he's studying tapes of them running Spurrier's offense. Though Gibbs' offensive philosophy is different, he said he might steal a thing or two from the Fun 'n' Gun.

"You see good things in there," Gibbs said. "And you think, 'This is something we might do.' In football, there is no pride. We'll take anything. If it looks good, we're taking it."